• I'm hoping that someone on this forum can give me some advice or suggestions on dealing with Cognitive Canine Dysfunction (CCD) also known as Doggie Dementia. My basenji (who turned 15 on 1/4/21) has most of the symptoms. I noticed small signs in the past year and last April she had a bout of Vestibular Canine Disorder. She did recover from the Vestibular disorder but I think that episode really took a toll on her. This past fall she had a few "accidents" in the house and prior to this she had NEVER relieved herself in our house. I took her to the vet to rule out a urinary infection - she did not have a UI and the vet ran some blood tests (liver tests were a little high )- but he wasn't too concerned and knew he would see her again in Feb. Also said he noticed she had lost muscle mass in hind quarters but we decreased her walks due to her age. Lately she likes to PACE - round and round the coffee table, she sometimes becomes confused and disoriented - gets trapped under the intable or can't find the doggie door, and she has a decreased desire to play. I physically take her out to potty on a regular basis (like a puppy) to prevent any accidents. She still loves to eat and knows what time it is to eat. She is not in any type of pain or discomfort. Keep in mind -sometimes she is really good - perfectly fine and doesn't have any issues at all and will even go out herself to potty. From what I have researched - routines and regular exercise are important. She has always had a routine but the exercise has almost stopped mainly due to the weather (we live in the northeast and we've had a lot of snow and it has been extremely cold outside). In her younger years the weather did not deter her but now she puts on the 'basenji brakes". I did purchased a natural medication on Amazon that is suppose to promote Cognitive Brain function in dogs - she's only been taking it for about a week but most of the reviews said they noticed improvement after a few weeks. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments from anyone who has experienced these issues with their basenji. She has her yearly Vet appointment tomorrow - unfortunately I can not go in with her due to Covid restrictions but the doctor will come out and speak with me. This situation has been very sad - it has been very heart breaking to see her get old. Thanks for listening and I'm open to any suggestions.


  • @kembe Oh, kembe... Damn...

    So, no... no experience with CCD, but it sounds like Jengo after his stroke. Circles. Lethargy. Accidents. I'm not sure what to say. What I want to do is support you as much as I can. You've always been a great supporter of mine, and I thank you so much for that, @Kembe

    After his stroke Jengo walked in circles, got tangled in tables, chairs and couldn't use the doggie door any more. I had to carry him out to the yard about every two hours or so. He wasn't in pain per say, but he wasn't happy. I was always afraid he'd injure himself. Sometimes I'd pick him up and set him in his doggy bed and just talk to him. Try to settle him down. Play with him. Tug lightly on his feet, nose, ears. Put a toy near his nose. Give him a snack. Anything I could think of. I'd watch his demeanor and adjust accordingly. Happy? I'd continue. Unhappy? I'd stop.

    Get to a Neurologist. Make her comfortable. Be there for her. Know that we're here for you. Move her bed and yours near the back door. Trust me on that one. I asked my first vet how I would know when it would be time. He told me "Greg, no one knows Buddy better that you. And, you love him more than anyone. Trust me. You'll know." I thought this was a stupid answer at the time. How wrong I was.

    15... I hope others here have insight I don't that can solve this. You're a sweetheart @Kembe. Know we're here for you.


  • @kembe I'll help the only way I can... through prayer. My heart and thoughts are with you. ❤


  • @kembe - There are medications that your Vet can give you to help with this? Did you ask about it?


  • It's tough when they get old and start to show it. Unfortunately at this time of year you have the complication of cold and snow, things may improve a bit with spring if she can be kept happy until then. I go very much on appetite. If my dog is eating well, then I can deal with the other issues. My second girl had ongoing problems from the age of 13. Approaching 16 she really started to display some of the things you are experiencing. Periods of restlessness, some confusion, some incontinence. At the time I had two Basenjis and her companion was patient and solicitous with her, which I think helped quite a bit. I confined the two of them to the kitchen when I could not supervise, and that worked well for me.


  • I think you're doing all that you can. I let my boy go as long as possible, in addition to the CCD he was having seizures. He made it just over 15. He had a good appetite up until his last day. I knew he wasn't going to get better, so I made The Hard Decision.


  • I have had over the past years basenjis with CCD and it is, to say the least, saddening to see. Our senior basenji, Wendy is now 16 1/2 and is pretty much avoiding CCD. We have been, on advice of our vet, to giver her a supplement for eventual CCD, and that is Sensilife capsules. After about 2 weeks, she really showed a remarkable increase in awareness. We still are on it, now for about 5 months. The thing is, this or any other supplements must be started before any signs of CCD for them to work. It can delay the onset, but cannot reverse it. We are hoping that it will still delay the inevitable, as with other basenjis that we have had, it comes pretty fast and the outcome is always the same. Anyway, it does take a couple of weeks to take effect. Not that expensive-we get ours from Walmart Pet Rx and 1800Pet Meds. At this point in time, for you and me, we both are trying to slow the advancement of aging in our precious basenjis. It is so hard, I wish you luck.


  • So sorry. It is very difficult. Your situation sounds similar to ours with our boy who was 15.5. We used a room to make an “assisted living space” for him with tile floor and a nearby outside door. I have used a “quality of life” scale for him and other dogs at the end to try to make the decision for the dog’s benefit, not mine. Here is one link. (https://www.aplb.org/resources/quality-of-life_scale.html)


  • @kembe I wouldn't trust supplements nor reviews in Amazon, many products have paid reviews. Asking the vet for medication would probably be better. Or maybe Cornell animal hospital.

    I have had older dogs lose some bladder control, so maybe pee pads would help? They do doggy diapers but I suspect they wouldn't be much fun for the dog and may end up being ripped off on a basenji.


  • @Kembe I have been down this road. My girl Jenna was 17 when she crossed the bridge 2 years ago. She was never fully diagnosed with CCD, but she had all the symptoms. She would pee and poo anywhere, and everywhere. She did use the dog door to the garage. She had gotten stuck behind my washer at one point. I could never figure out how or why she did that. She had to go past them to go outside to the backyard; but some where she hung a right and ended up behind the washer. I had found a box that fit between the washer and the wall, so she never had that problem again. One night she had a seizure just before I got home from work. At that time, I had 2 basenji boys, and I believe one of them attacked her because he did not know what what going on. I came home to find her on the floor in the middle of the room and not able to get up. There was some blood, but could not find any real wounds from the so called attack. I got her cleaned up as best as I could. She could not stand on her own without me bracing her. I laid her down on her bed, and got her food bowl for her since she hadn't eaten since breakfast but she didn't want it. I put a blanket over her. She was resting and doing ok before I went to bed. I was going to call the make the decision to have her put to sleep, but she chose to go on her own terms and was gone by morning when I got up. I felt so bad, that I was not right there beside her. NOW, my 16 year old Zak is pacing, gets stuck in and behind things. He's not been officially diagnosed either. I have him on Senilife, Joy CBD for dogs, and he get Heart Health (Amazon). He still looks forward to eating. Doesn't like to walk that far anymore. We have a meet up for Basenji's on the last Sunday of every month down at Point Isabel (across from San Francisco, CA). He can't walk like he used to for that, so I bought him a stroller. He tolerates it, but still wants to get out and walk some. But his walk is like a turtle at best, and is too slow, so I put him in the stroller until we get over to where we usually stop and gab some and all the while, the b's are running. Since Zak is deaf, I do have to keep an eye on him as he does and will wonder off, and not know where he is. He also has peeing accidents in the house, so he has a belly band for that, I can change and wash them. He has lost weight, went from a large belly band down to a med, and I thought it was really going to be too small for him, but its not and it doesn't fall or come off. He also got stuck behind my dryer very early Saturday morning, it woke me up, him screaming and howling all at the same time. I got that side blocked off now too. I don't know what type of natural medication you bought. Senilife does help and takes time. Am not 100% sure if that or the CBD oil are working. He also gets some mobility chews. I mix the Senilife and CBD oil in with his food in the moring, and the heart health in his evening meal. He will eat, and walk over to check out Mr.T (basenji) bowls or see if there is any food in the cats bowls. He will go back to his bowl and eat some more and do the walk about to other bowls again. I have to watch Mr.T as he will eat Zak's food if I am not in the room or paying attention. He drinks alot of water, so the water bowl has to be constantly filled.
    You may want to block off rooms or under tables as best as you can, so she doesn't get stuck too badly. Its the pitts watching your pup get old and forget things and places. Jenna was my first dog that I ever experienced this with. I've had plenty of dogs, but most were gone by the age of 14 and never had dementia. Now, I'm dealing with it with another dog. I am just hoping that Mr.T will be ok. Jenna came from a reputable breeder, Zak was a rescue from a backyard breeder. Mr.T is from a reputable breeder in Arizona, but he was re homed to me from his original owners after they got transferred to Brazil for their job and couldn't take him,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he's got his own set of problems............Valley Fever.
    I may have not been of much help, but I have been down this road, and am traveling it again. If you are on Facebook there is a Canine Cognitive Dysfunction group that you can ask to join. Lots of really good help and different ideas on medications to ask your vet about.
    Don't hesitate to ask questions. We're all here to help as best as we can, but the best place is to talk to your vet. Some vet's are not very knowledgeable about CCD, and if your vet will not give out meds, find a NEW VET.....ASAP. Wishing you all the best for you and your pup.


  • My Ibis did that, so when she had 'episodes', we just took her and sat with her on the rocking chair. (Like we did when she was a puppy). She still loved attention, so when she was back to normal, we put her back down. Sometimes we did this 3-4 times a day.

    I'm just hoping someone will do that for me when I act the same.


  • @rugosab said in Cognitive Canine Disorder:

    I'm just hoping someone will do that for me when I act the same.

    You certainly deserve it - as do many of us in some smaller way or other !


  • We unfortunately dealt with this with our last 2 Jack Russells. Jack was 14 when he passed in 2012. He was literally climbing the walls and had sundowners. Stubber Pup, the love of my life passed 9//3/2019 at 17+ years. He couldn’t see or hear anymore. He didn’t even react to his name most of the time and he couldn’t get off the couch by himself. He’d just stand up there, look at me and just pee. He didn’t even know he was doing it. He’d whimper constantly and bark for no reason. Anxiety was intense. I couldn’t leave him in a room by himself. I really feel for you because it’s tough and heartbreaking going through it for the puppers and you. You just have to hang tough for them and go through it. The vet put both of them on anti anxiety meds which helped a little. My prayers and thoughts are with you.


  • I think quality of life comes into this somewhere. I've always gone by my dog's eagerness to eat. If they can't even enjoy that pleasure, what is left? I draw the line at forced feeding when they aren't getting any joy from anything else, either. Every situation is somewhat different, as is every dog, but for me there has to be something in life they enjoy that balances out the bad bits when confusion and anxiety reign.


  • @eeeefarm I think quality of life doesn't just 'come into it' - I think it is everything. To keep a dog going when the quality of life has deteriorated a great deal is thinking of oneself, not the dog.

    Sometimes there is only one decision you can possibly make to show an old friend how much you love him or her and that is to make a decision which hurts you. To let him or her go with dignity when it is time.

    Mine have almost always come and told me, Mom, please help me. And I would, as someone on this forum said a year or so ago, prefer always be a day early than a day late.

    Eating is a good gauge of quality of life, but it mustn't be the only criteria. There is so much to take into consideration and I am the first to admit it is a time I absolutely hate.

    Hoover who died in August, is the first one in all these years of running a pack of Basenjis who has not died in my arms, here in the garden. She died in the car, racing towards the vet on a Saturday morning. The first one I wasn't cuddling.

    So I DO understand and my thoughts are constantly with all of you who have to go through this - but believe me, knowing you are doing the best for the dog you love, is itself a consolation.


  • I am SO sorry your sweet girl is having problems. I have no solutions, either, but I pray the Good Lord will put His healing hands on this little girl and hold your whole family in His loving arms. I am sending love from Binti and me.


  • I am so sorry your girl is not herself. I experienced this with my little chihuahua. Her little bed was right next to ours, and she would get up and walk in tight circles many times at night. I would hold her, calm her, and get her back to bed. She still ate well, she never gave up on that.

    She often got lost in our house. I think the crowning blow was when her favorite friend, one of my dear friends, came over as she often did, and Stella refused to have anything to do with her. Before, she would sit on her lap for hours.

    I knew it was time; I tearfully told my veterinarian, a close friend who tells it like it is, that Stella still knew me. Her response? "She is used to you."

    Hard to let tiny Stella go. She was seven when I got her, and hadn't had much of a life until she came to us. I feel so sad that her good life had to come to an end.

    She was an uninspired little agility dog, but she LOVED it. She was also the softest little cuddle.

    My Tess Basenji is sixteen. She is okay, but having lived through Stella, I know that she is slipping. I want to say goodby to her while she still knows me and wants my company.

    I will put you and your pup in my prayers.

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